Frankie Boyle disparages Labour’s right-wing leader candidates – with uncomfortable facts

Frankie Boyle

There is a problem with criticising people for failing to say what they mean in a straightforward way. It arises when you do exactly the same thing.

Frankie Boyle’s critique of the Labour leader candidates in The Guardian is very amusing but falls prey to exactly this problem. He makes several good points, but they’re a long way down the page. Why? So people will lose interest and stop reading before they get to them? Let’s pull them out and give them a proper airing.

Political parties are meant to have guiding principles. Frankie mentions this way down in the fifth paragraph, after revealing: “We’re told that they are responding to the concerns of voters. Labour keeps saying: ‘We’re concerned about immigration because that’s what people say on the doorstep’,” which is guaranteed to stimulate yawns as we’ve all heard it many times before.

Labour did have guiding principles once. They were intended to improve prosperity for everybody in the UK by raising the people who did the work out of the poverty that the leisure class (the people who profit from unearned wealth) force them to endure. So Labour used to stand for cheap accommodation, cheap – but nutritious – food, affordable utilities (gas, electricity, water), nationalised healthcare, a living wage, good government – all the things that helped Jeremy Corbyn score so highly in Newsnight‘s televised hustings a few nights ago.

Ah, but Corbyn, despite being lauded as “one of the few decent politicians remaining in the Labour Party”, is talked down as a candidate who caused “the left of the party to get quite excited that it is still allowed to lose”. He’s saying all the right things, Frankie. People are connecting with him. Don’t write him off so blithely.

Can it really be easier to convert Tories than to reconnect with your own core support? Of course not, but Frankie hits on one of the largest elephants in Labour’s room. It’s just a shame he does it in his concluding paragraph. He reckons Burnham, Cooper and Kendall get their information on what voters want from what businesspeople say (they’re desperate to be pro-business without knowing what it means), polls (which Frankie rightly says can be misleading) and the media (which are, again, rightly labelled deliberately misleading). As a result, they end up campaigning on all the wrong issues and turn potential supporters away, rather than attracting them.

Why does being ‘pro-business’ have to mean being ‘anti-worker’? The three leading – actually they’re not leading anything at all in the eyes of the public; let’s call them ‘preferred’ – candidates seem determined to disappear up their own rear ends, trying to explain how they will support the kind of people who couldn’t care less about anything other than building their own wealth, even though this creates misery for the workers on whose efforts it is built. Frankie hits it on the head when he writes: “I’m reduced to imagining that ‘pro-business’ is simply a rhetorical code for ‘right-wing’, and that we are watching leadership contenders wonder aloud whether they are being right-wing enough.”

We end up with a leadership campaign aimed at a public who hate benefits, immigrants and shirkers. Benefits and shirkers are in fact the same issue, but Frankie is right to highlight it. Labour introduced the most punitive benefit-cancelling system in British history – Employment and Support Allowance – in 2008 and the party line is still to say that there’s nothing wrong with it in principle, even though its implementation has led to many thousands of deaths that the DWP has already admitted – and who knows how many that it is covering up (see Vox Political‘s many articles on the subject). The simple fact is that Labour is afraid of newspapers saying the party is soft on ‘shirker’ benefit claimants, and is instead forcing itself to persecute people who desperately need help, just to stay alive. That is a Tory Party attitude.

There is a very simple case to be made against austerity, but Labour doesn’t have the guts to make it. Jeremy Corbyn did.

Still, they must know that they are not going to win the next election. This is the most damning claim of all. A decade ago, the Conservative Party was finished, washed up; a joke. All Labour had to do was keep a steady hand on the tiller and the Nasty Party would have been banished to history.

But Labour couldn’t do that. It had been infiltrated by neoliberal might-as-well-be-Tories who pushed harmful policies including ESA and the failure to regulate the banks that eventually sucked the UK into the global financial crisis and allowed the Tories to create a myth that Labour had messed up the economy. If Labour is unlikely to win elections now, it is that party’s own fault for giving the Tories a chance – by being too much like the Tories themselves.

Now we have three ‘preferred’ leader candidates who want Labour to be different from the Conservative Party only in nuance.

Let’s vote for the one who wants Labour to be the Labour Party again.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:



  1. Angie (@AngelaM1261) June 19, 2015 at 11:29 am - Reply

    Ah yes, Frankie Boyle who makes fun of people with Down’s Syndrome, who made some truly vile comments about Paralympic athletes and had a go at Katie Price’s severely disabled son. Great role model. I don’t buy this “my enemy is your enemy therefore you are my friend” stuff

    • Mike Sivier June 19, 2015 at 11:47 am - Reply

      Yes indeed, Frankie Boyle who is also extremely popular and whose comments carry a great deal of influence.
      I’m not saying everyone has to applaud him – in fact, if you look at what I’ve written, I said he got the important parts of his article in the wrong place.

      • spirit June 20, 2015 at 3:22 am - Reply

        Article in the Indie today, Mike. It’s a bit of dog’s breakfast, but still, every little helps!

        “200,000 people have signed a petition demanding transparency from the department”

        • Mike Sivier June 20, 2015 at 1:35 pm - Reply

          I’ve written to correct it.

      • John Gaines June 22, 2015 at 9:23 am - Reply

        “I’m reduced to imagining that ‘pro-business’ is simply a rhetorical code for ‘right-wing’, and that we are watching leadership contenders wonder aloud whether they are being right-wing enough.”

        Indeed we are, they will bend ‘Righter’ than the Tories to win the acclaim of the City Criminals who buy their way out of Prison, with Taxpayers money gladly donated to them by the Bank of England, whose motto is

        ‘You swindled the Masses, want some more’

  2. Derek Robinson June 19, 2015 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Generally I am in agreement.
    However, I think the ESA comments are a little overboard. It is incumbent on any government is to ensure the Taxpayers are not be taken for a ride so there will always be checks and balances on recipients of Taxpayers money responsible no matter what party is in power.
    I am not saying Labour was wrong or right on the subject of ESA but I defy anyone to say that Labour would have allowed the things that have happened on the Tories watch.
    Governments for what happens on their watch, not the previous incumbents.

    It’s also easy to criticise the bad points of the Labour administration and also overlook the many things that were good.

  3. Chris June 19, 2015 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    Right now there are a great many undecided Labour MPs.

    Yet the petition on 38 Degrees only limps along.

    We, the people, need to sign it in our thousands and reshare it, to get Jeremy Corbyn and for Labour to become a winning SYRIZA.

    It was us, the people who signed the previous 38 Degrees petiton
    that brought about the needed 5000 signatures to get Jeremy Corbyn
    even anywhere near the leadership contest.

    I am within the campaigners on the moral theft of state pension now, and they all endorse Jeremy Corbyn as the sole anti austerity leadership candidate.

    What is being said, is that Labour cannot win with jeremy Corbyn.

    This is reverse psychology. We can hear someone say that we, the Tories, cannot win with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm of Labour, purging Labour of Progress and New Labour that made Labour sound merely carbon copy Tory.

    The rich say that a living wage is actually pro business.

    When workers have money to spend, it generates more business and, in turn, more jobs.

    More jobs with a living wage, generates more business.

    It might be nice if our elite political class actually understood the basic concept of capitalism.

  4. Ian June 19, 2015 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    I hope all these little sociopath Tory supporters who think they’re being awfully clever in joining Labour to vote for Corbyn get their comeuppance and actually elect him. Given there is still no great enthusiasm for the Tories – 24% of the possible vote – something refreshingly different that actually appeals to most should be very electable. If, whenever the media, especially the Mail, Sun etc., slag him off, he should point out exactly why they are against him. Whenever he gets a chance to speak on the news he should also make that point.

    He will (hopefully) need to be braver than other Labour leaders in standing up to the vested interests in business and the press and I think, given the chance, fingers crossed, he will be. The shrieks of hysteria from the right will eventually grate on their readers’ nerves and become so transparent the propaganda will have an opposite effect in some cases. I think that happened partially after the Mails Miliband Dad A Dirty Commie Bastard Britain-Hating Jew debacle. Even some Conservatives aren’t so relentlessly stupid that they can’t see that for what it was. Now we need them to know *why* it happens.

    • crazytrucker1951 June 20, 2015 at 10:14 am - Reply

      Or the “Red Ed Held In The Sway Of The Evil Unions” perhaps? A headline that had me spitting my porridge over my dog! No I don’t read the Wail just saw the headline, that paper is not even fit for wrapping chips when we were allowed our chips in newspaper!

      • Ian June 20, 2015 at 4:49 pm - Reply

        The Mail should be torn into squares and nailed to the outside privy wall…

  5. John D Turner June 23, 2015 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    I like to debate with facts too so here is my (informed) take on ESA:

    ESA was, as originally set out by Labour, a major improvement on its predecessor, Incapacity Benefit (which was introduced by the Tory Party to replace Sickness Benefit):

    • crazytrucker1951 June 23, 2015 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      A Blair wet dream honed and tweaked by the Minister For Death into the Gestapo like institution it is today.

  6. John D Turner (@Jodatu) June 23, 2015 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Blair wet dream? I do not follow you there and, to be honest, I am happy I cannot …

Leave A Comment